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March 1, 2024
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Three deny Blenheim Palace theft charges

Gold toilet by Maurizio Cattelan

The solid gold toilet disappeared from Blenheim Palace in September 2019

Three men have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace.

The £4.8m lavatory was taken from the stately home in Oxfordshire in 2019 while it was being showcased as part of an exhibition by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan.

The men, accused of burglary and conspiracy to transfer criminal property, denied all charges during a hearing at Oxford Crown Court.

A trial will begin in February 2025.

Michael Jones, 38, of Oxford, and James Sheen, 39, from Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, are accused of burglary.

Mr Sheen is also charged with transferring criminal property and conspiracy to do the same.

Frederick Sines, 35, of Ascot, is accused of conspiring to transfer criminal property.

A fourth defendant, Bora Guccuk, 40, from London, has also been charged with conspiring to transfer criminal property. He has not yet been asked to enter a plea.

The loo, which could be used for its intended purpose, had only been on show for two days when it was stolen on 19 September 2019.

As it was plumbed in at the time, the heist caused flooding and damage to the 18th Century stately home in Woodstock.

The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

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